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Mar 2020
I Have a Yong Suster
(anonymous Medieval English riddle-poem, circa 1430)
translation by Michael R. Burch

I have a young sister
Far beyond the sea;
Many are the keepsakes
That she sent me.

She sent me the cherry
Without any stone;
And also the dove
Without any bone.

She sent me the briar
Without any skin;
She bade me love my lover
Without longing.

How should any cherry
Be without a stone?
And how could any dove
Be without a bone?

How should any briar
Be without a skin?
And how could I love my lover
Without longing?

When the cherry was a flower,
Then it had no stone;
When the dove was an egg,
Then it had no bone.

When the briar was unborn,
Then it had no skin;
And when a maiden has her mate,
She is without longing!

This poem was sung in the movie "Animal House" by a college troubadour played by Stephen Bishop. A toga-clad John Belushi destroyed his guitar! Keywords/Tags: riddle, medieval, Middle English, young, sister, cherry, stone, dove, bone
Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
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